Thursday, February 26, 2009

"'It's uh known fact, Pheoby, you got tuh go there tuh know there. Yo papa and yo' mama and nobody else can't tell yuh and show yuh. Two things everybody's got tuh do fuh theyselves. They got tuh go tuh God, and they got tuh find out about livin' fuh theyselves'" (192).

"Love ain't somethin' lak uh grindstone dat's de same thing everywhere and do de same thing tuh everything it touch. Love is lak de sea. It's a movin' thing, but still and all, it takes its shape from de shores it meets, and it's different with every shore" (191).

These two quotations, taken from Janie's narration on the last few pages of Their Eyes Were Watching God, help to wrap up and explain two intertwined themes developed by Hurston throughout the novel. The first quote has to do with Janie's journey, stemming from that first moment underneath the pear tree, when she knew she wanted to find true love for herself. While in the beginning she was influenced by Nanny to reject the call to adventure and settle down with Logan Killicks, eventually Janie broke free and set out to create her own life and find love.

By the end of the novel, Janie is describing her experience with love to Pheoby using a couple of different metaphors. She says love isn't "lak uh grindstone," meaning everyone experiences it in the same way, but rather "love is lak de sea", it is vast and varied from coast to coast, warm and calm some places, cold and rough in others. Janie had to leave the town where she grew up in dissension of her late grandmother's opinion on love and marriage in order to make this discovery, which is Hurston's greatest message to her audience.

The world isn't built for all the answers to be handed to you, but if you want something so bad that you are willinging to leave the ordinary world and venture into the unknown to find it, you will be rewarded. Janie faced a lot of opposition to her dream of what love was, but because she was able to overcome the acrimonious sneers of her neighbors and the adversity of gender roles at that time period, she was able to discover that her love was different and true; a notion that, to the consternation of her peers, leaves Janie satisfied and whole even after Tea Cake dies.

1 comment:

  1. I agree with you Amanda. Another thing that I found extremely interesting about these quotes was that Janie is seemingly Transcendental-like beliefs. I thought that the first quote exhibited a central theme to Thoreau's Walden. In Walden, Thoreau claimed that he went to the woods to live. He implied that the American population did not truly live to appreciate life; they lived on a materialistic pretense. In a way, Janie is advocating the same message directed to women. She realizes the captivity of the female spirit in a male dominated society and suggests that women should "go out there" and live. In essence, women must reach out and grasp their life in the face of male disapproval.